Thursday, 28 March 2013

He Gave Me A Second Chance

Welcome to part 11 of

In which we see Captain Britain overcome seemingly impossible odds to win, but at a high price as my attempt at this beautiful Alan Davis page hopefully shows…

And of course hopefully everyone knows already, that the "Jaspers Warp" storyline and the The Fury shown in the first 2 panels was of course written by none other than Alan Moore

But this was at the early days of Alan Moore's carrer, it was his first real ongoing comic, certainly his first actual Super - hero comic

But what did Alan think about Captain Britain - let's hear from Alan himself from "A short history of Britain" as originally published in Marvel Super Heroes 389 September 1982:-

"Captain Britain always seemed like a good idea. Oh, certainly his career has suffered numerous false starts, hiccups and outright disasters, but through it all there has been the abiding impression that the Captain could have been a contender.

The mere thought of Britain, a nation previously only known for Vera Lynn…"

"… and a series of fascinatingly demented murderers,"

"...producing it's own superhero was indeed an exciting one.  So exciting in fact that in 1976 Stan Lee decided to spare us any undue agitation by producing one for us.  On October 13th the first issue of Captain Britain hit the stands.

The Captains earliest adventure, printed in what our primitive minds would later come to know as "colour…"

"…, were pencilled by Herbe Trimpe and inked by Fred Kida.  The explosive two dimensional quality present in Trimpe's best work, while splendid when it came to delineating Lego-brick New York skyscrapers, looked a little out of place in a setting of dark British moorlands complete with standing stones.

Chris Claremont, who scripted the series in those early days, seems to have been a little constricted by corporate decisions concerning the character.  For example the Brian Braddock / Courtney Ross / Jacko Tanner triangle seemed to be little more than Peter Parker / Liz Allen and Flash Thompson of Spiderman fame played at the wrong speed."

"As for Captain Britain's character itself the general impression was of Captain America somehow tangled up with the origin story of the Mighty Thor.  What we were getting, in fact, was an American superhero wrapped in a union jack."

No, not THAT union jack, Alan!

Anyway Alan Moore continues on in this vein for a while through Captain Britain's publishing history (and you can see most of this in some of the previous instalments) until he reaches the Dave Thorpe / Alan Davis relaunch

"any doubts we might have had vanished with the appearance of Marvel Super Heroes No. 377, September 1981.  Here we had a new uniform…"

That Actually was more of a union jack….!

"a new world and a new creative team in the shape of Dave Thorpe on scripts and that big chap from Corby whose name escapes me for the moment handling the artwork.  Verging on the surreal at times, Captain Britain took on the overtones of a quirky British eccentricity that immediately distanced him from his carbon-copy pseudo-American origins.

It was almost perfect.  The only ingredient needed to rocket The Captain to new nights of international stardom and artistic triumph was me."

"I took over the scripting of Captain Britain with the last page of the episode featured in Marvel Super heroes 386…"

"… and within less than two issues had managed to kill off all the major characters, including Captain Britain himself…"

Alan Moore of course brought back Captain Britain and gave the character his literal second chance in Issue 1 Of "The Daredevils"

And what followed after that is history in many more ways than most people realise - in Alan Moore's Captain Britain we have (amongst many other things - these are just the most obvious examples)

Multiple parallel earths (yes Marvel 616 gets its name from these very stories) that get destroyed at a flick of a switch

a apparently completely unstoppable and unbeatable enemy (as its mechanical)

In fact you can make the case that practically any big main stream comic event after 1982 has its basis in Alan Moore's Captain Britain

While one could argue as to if that is correct and if so is it really good or bad, one can't help but notice that something significant has been left behind - that is the Captain himself

That is part of the context that is lost, the story no matter how good exists to serve the character right?

NEXT WEEK: We finally hear from Alan Davis himself and we conclude our look back on Captain Britain!

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